Kilchberg / CH. (ls) With consolidated annual sales worth 2,67 billion CHF, the Lindt + Sprüngli Group once again achieved growth well ahead of the overall chocolate market, despite the challenging economic environment, and won new market shares in practically every country and category. Organic growth is mainly attributable to substantially higher volumes. Almost all the subsidiary companies made significant contributions to this favourable trend.
In the past financial year, the Euro crisis and the accompanying economic background conditions worsened steadily, especially in the countries of southern Europe. The global economic slowdown even reached the dynamic emerging countries – although so far only to a relatively limited extent. With a continuing increase of investments in marketing and point-of-sale activities, together with innovative new product launches, the company´s seasonal and permanent business advanced strongly. Lindt´s leading position as a first-class chocolate products brand and its global premium image were achieved thanks to continuous brand enhancement and the uniform global communication concept of the Lindt Master Chocolatiers which has been in use now for nearly twenty years. Today, Lindt is a household word among consumers for quality, chocolate tradition and Swissness – values which are based on trust enjoyed all over the world.
Thanks to these measures implemented both in the regular retail trade and via its own global retail organization, the company achieved growth of 7,3 percent in Swiss Francs and 6,8 percent in local currencies, with Group sales worth 2,67 billion CHF. Accompanied by corresponding market share gains, this growth was well above that of the overall chocolate markets. By comparison with the previous year´s average figure, the value of the Euro against the Swiss Franc eased slightly. On the other hand, the US Dollar and pound sterling made small gains.
Progress on the main markets proved highly satisfactory. In Europe, Germany, France and the U.K. were the fastest- growing subsidiaries. Among the key European markets, only Italy lagged slightly behind the previous year because of the extremely difficult economic environment. The Swiss subsidiary company reported even stronger growth than in the previous year on the highly competitive domestic market; a further increase in its market shares for tablets and pralinés was achieved in the past twelve months. Business in North America showed above-average development again with double digit organic growth. Progress in Australia and on the Asian emerging markets was equally pleasing. Familiarity with the Lindt brand is gradually being established and enhanced in these countries through an increasingly broad presence in selected retail trade channels and also in the duty free sector.
As part of the geographical expansion, new subsidiary companies were set up in the year under review in Shanghai (China) and Moscow (Russia), with a view to consolidating the Lindt brand permanently on these promising markets, firstly through a stronger presence in conventional urban sales channels and secondly through the activities of Lindt´s global retail organization.
Outlook: Operating profit (Ebit)
The Group expects its operating profit to advance even more strongly than sales growth. The operating margin increase will therefore reach the upper end of the 20 to 40 basis point range announced previously.